I wonder what his first impression was, as the Dollar Monster made a sudden right into the driveway a few yards ahead of him and swung up to the sidewalk where he was walking, guitar in hand.
“Where Ricky at? ” we all yelled, slightly out of sync. This kid, in his purple pants and skeleton shirt, walking around town with his electric guitar, seemed the type who might be able to help us locate our friend. Unfortunately, Ricky seems to get a new number every couple months so we have to locate him by alternative means when we come through town. This kid can’t help though. He’s only been in Nebraska two weeks and doesn’t know anyone, other than the girl he left Arizona to be with.
I open the bus doors and, to his surprise, invite him in. We pull away and start talking, learn that the girl he came here for burned him in four short weeks and he’s staying at the shelter, trying to decide what’s next.
“You’re staying at the shelter?” My husband asks incredulously. “If you wanna get outta there you can kick it with us.” Everyone echoes this sentiment, whooping encouragement. This kid can’t believe his ears and within fifteen minutes all his earthly possessions are piled on the floor of the van.
We get him food, and a drink whose partially empty can he crushes with his foot, a guitar case and a chair within the space of ten minutes, earning himself the nickname Crush. My husband and our road dog tell him what gear he’ll need if he wants to travel, let him know he’s more than welcome to join us, and we all talk about what led us here and what life on the road has afforded us, then we all jam. By the end of the night Crush is telling us he already feels like we’re family, and he knows he could trust us with his life.
He leaves to find a bathroom and I say, “You know, I’m thinking about how this is just what we do, but for him, his whole life just did a 180 in five minutes.”
The guys laugh. “We did just roll up on him super hard. Lucky him.” I wonder if he’ll tell his grandkids one day about the night the Dollar Monster pulled up next to him.